It is no secret that there are an abundance of great dining options throughout the Bay Area. But as more and more people start to make vegan or vegetarian changes to their diets, it can be challenging to find the right food and dessert places that have vegan-friendly menu items and also support small businesses.
In this article, I will be spotlighting two small businesses in the Oakland/Berkeley area that are guaranteed to leave any customer satisfied and wanting to come back for more of their delicious plant-based and dairy-alternative dining options.
And best yet: They are on the same street and within walking distance of each other!
Malibu’s Burgers (3905 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA)
Located on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, California, Malibu’s Burgers is a 100% plant-based restaurant, famous for their burgers made from Impossible meat.
Many burger places and fast food restaurants have a plant-based meat option on their menu, but what sets Malibu’s Burgers apart is the size, taste and diversity of their menu. With popular items including their Malibu Burger (classic cheeseburger look and taste), Fight The Power Chick’n Sandwich (spicy fried chicken sandwich with buffalo sauce), and Gillie Philly (philly cheesesteak), everything on their menu will have you wondering just how they were able to get these made-from-plant foods to look and taste like the real thing.
Owner Darren Preston (AKA Danny Malibu) once ran this black-owned small business from a food truck, a school bus painted black that was often parked on Grand Avenue, before finding a permanent home for his popular all-vegan creations almost three years ago.
This past Sunday, I dined at Malibu’s Burgers for the first time in what had been far too long. I decided to order a popular menu item that I had never tried before, their Ghostown Burger. I was not disappointed, as the burger itself was sizable and the plant-based meat (both the patty and imitation bacon) paired perfectly with the BBQ sauce in taste and texture.
In addition, as is possible with all of their burgers and sandwiches, I made my order a combo by adding their Hella Hella Fries, fries served with Follow Your Heart American Cheese, Caramelized Onions, and their signature Mamma’s Spread. These fries reminded me of the popular Animal-Style fries at In-N-Out, except Malibu’s Burgers’ fries were crinkle-cut and more crisp.
As someone who has dined at this restaurant several times in the past, there are still so many menu items that I hope to try in the future, including their oat-milk based milkshakes and Egg Nun breakfast sandwich.
Malibu’s Burgers menu items are on the slightly pricier side, with their burgers and sandwiches ranging from $13-19. But eating at this Bay Area restaurant not only supports a black-owned small business, it may also change your opinion on plant-based food and become one of your favorite burger places in the process.
Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery (4184 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA)
Only a five minute walk up Piedmont Avenue from Malibu’s Burgers, Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery is a dairy-free ice cream shop with locations in Oakland, Albany and Emeryville.
Started in 2011 by brothers Ari and Andrew Cohen, the Berkeley natives sought out to create delicious ice cream that also met the dietary needs of being free of gluten, soy, and dairy.
The result is a plethora of ice cream flavors and dessert options that utilize cashew milk among other natural and organic ingredients to make their ice cream taste as sweet and mouth-watering, if not more so, than your local dairy-based ice cream shop.
I stopped by Mr. Dewie’s on Sunday as well, and decided to try a Split-Single in a cup of one of my go-to flavors, Fresh Strawberry, and Tahini Fudge, the latter being their current Special Flavor (a seasonal ice cream flavor that changes every so often and is only around for a limited time). To top it off, I asked for Vegan Hot Fudge, one of their many toppings you can add for only one dollar extra.
As is always the case, I was not disappointed with my Mr. Dewie’s experience. The Fresh Strawberry-Tahini Fudge combination might turn into my new regular order (for as long as Tahini Fudge remains on the menu), and for only six dollars the portion size was more than enough. You will be surprised just how creamy and rich their cashew milk based ice cream is, and no doubt will be wanting to go back again and again to try all that this family-owned small business has to offer.
You can get any of their ice cream flavors (including Banana Nut, Mocha Chip, Chocolate Cookie Crumble, and Golden Spice among many others) in either a cup, cone, or in a cookie sandwich (don’t worry, their cookies are also dairy free and gluten free). They also offer pints of any of their wonderful flavors, and sell many of their toppings individually as well if you want to make your own creation at home.
I was never the biggest ice cream fan growing up, but Mr. Dewie’s single handedly changed my mind. Their ice cream is excellent, and their service is always friendly, attentive, and courteous. With the hot summer days quickly approaching, Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery is the perfect treat for any occasion.